And since we are his children, we will share his treasures—for all God gives to his Son Jesus is now ours too. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. (Rom 8:17)
The thought of co-owning all that Jesus has is a mind bending one. It is immeasurably exhilarating to think about the blessedness of having access in a tangible form to all that Jesus owns. Still, when we focus on this truth and unshakeable reality, to the exclusion of the remainder of Romans 8:17, we create for ourselves a one sided coin – an illusion.
In popular theology, the idea of suffering is viewed as anathema; the Christian should simply not suffer. To suffer is to raise doubts about your consecration. Brethren will wonder, “is he living in sin?” It is the same question the disciples asked Jesus when they chanced upon a man who had been born blind. “Who sinned?” they queried, “this man or his parents?”
Somehow, the idea has become entrenched that suffering is always as result of personal sin. While sin often results in suffering, the larger reality is that, suffering exists in this world because the world and its systems are often working at cross-purposes to God, and by extension God’s children.
This is however not an idea that believers embrace easily. We even make songs about not suffering to sing in church, or change the lyrics of those that hint at the possibility of suffering, such that, “whatever comes my way” becomes “when success comes my way”.
Yet the bible says, “if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.” The two are in a sense like Siamese twins. It was in realization of this that Paul the apostle then began to earnestly long not only to experience the resurrection power, but to share with Him the fellowship of suffering. (Phil 3:10-11)
For sure, our aim is for the glory that he promises, but like him, although we despise the suffering, and the shame of the cross, we endure it nevertheless because of the joy that is set before us (Heb 12:2). For it is indeed true that “our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!],” (2 Cor 4:17)
Lord, help me to see through the cross of daily troubles the crown of eternal value.